Best Of :: Goods & Services
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) might roll around only once a year, but the skulls, monarch butterflies, and other motifs meant to celebrate ancestors who've died are a part of everyday life in Mexican culture. And quite a few Phoenicians have embraced them, too, sporting iconic sugar-skull images on everything from bolo ties to hipster socks. Walls, bins, and shelves at La Tiendita (meaning "the little shop") inside the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center are filled year-round with jewelry, magnets, masks, home decor, fashion accessories, and crafts channeling Day of the Dead and other Mexican traditions. Many are made by local artists, and there's a good chance you'll get to meet and talk with at least one local artist while you're there. Pieces of colorful tissue paper called papel picado, perforated to create Day of the Dead designs, hang suspended from the ceiling — proving that shopping, as you've long insisted, is actually an essential life-affirming act. Go ahead, get that fancy skull-print handbag or wallet. Your abuela (grandmother) would have wanted you to go for it.
We know it's officially winter when it's finally time to put on a scarf, park at the AJ's on Central Avenue and Camelback Road, buy a dirty chai from a Dutch Bros. associate who is so busy he doesn't have time to be annoying, and knock out holiday shopping at Crafeteria. Every December, the handmade marketplace brings together around 50 specially selected vendors who set up shop in the Medlock Plaza parking lot for an evening of perusing, live music, and food-truck snacks. Expect letterpress cards, painted paper goods, jewelry, knitwear, toys for kids, and leather items. All of which equates to check, check, check, and check when it comes to that gift list.
If one man's trash is another man's treasure, then Junk in the Trunk is basically the vintage and resale equivalent of the Cave of Wonders in Disney's Aladdin. Seriously, this craft fair/antique mall hybrid takes over WestWorld of Scottsdale and turns it into a Pinterest addict's wonderland. Need an adorable wooden end table with paint chipped in such a way that gives it a rustic charm? Or how about the final Pyrex bowl that completes your Butterfly Gold set? Or maybe you just need one more sassy picket-fence-turned-wall-hanging piece to finish off your entryway. Well, grab those reusable bags, and bring plenty of cash, because Junk in the Trunk has everything you're looking for and a few more things you won't be able to live without.
When people imagine Phoenix, they don't really think of jewelers, carpenters, clothing designers, or leather workers. But, oh, are they wrong not to. Hidden within this desert valley are some incredibly talented crafters, and there's no better place to peruse and choose which maker is your favorite than Phoenix Flea. Thankfully, this "modern market" happens several times per year at different locations throughout the city.
Mall experts that we are, we know that a multi-level, multi-store day of shopping requires a, well, multitude of things. We also know that Scottsdale Quarter has all of 'em. Sustenance? The north Valley spot runs the gamut, with baked goods and caffeine by way of Press Coffee to easy lunches and light fare at True Food Kitchen and a full-blown fancy dinner at Dominick's Steakhouse. Shopping? There's your generic mall fare, including an Apple store, H&M, and Bath & Body Works; rarer finds like Warby Parker, Design Within Reach, and West Elm; and high-end offerings from Intermix and Suitsupply. There are places to unwind with beauty services (Drybar and Dolce), an American Girl store to keep the kiddos occupied, and when you're sick of hauling those bags around, the iPic Theater awaits, with room to mellow out for a few hours while cozied up in its plush seating. What more could you want?
Joshua Hahn and Kenny Barrett have, among other things, stellar taste. So when the duo behind downtown's community garden slash co-op vintage shop GROWop announced that they'd open a new store called Phoenix General, we counted down the days. And boy, we weren't disappointed. An aesthetic departure from its cozy sister shop, the General's scene is more streamlined, with clean lines, simple designs, and minimal frills. That means men's and women's wearables by Bridge & Burn, Hill-Side bandanas, and bags by Yield. More exciting still, Hahn and Barrett have launched an in-house label of covetable T-shirts and cushy cotton separates, with more options to come. Um, also? They carry Ace & Jig, the textile-centered label that makes the kinds of shirts, jumpsuits, and dresses that make you feel like you're on vacation (even when you're at work).